Bell remains an option, no question about it. He's attracted some interest in free agency and he wants to find the right fit. What he is seeking and what teams are offering is the big question here, though, and from an Eagles standpoint there is every reason to stay away from a rushed move.
The Eagles have options. It's April, first of all, so the Eagles have a bit of time to explore every option and make sure they do the right thing to bring stability to a position left suddenly vacant when Jason Peters suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon injury last week.
Bell is on the list, as is feel UFA Marcus McNeil and whomever else they might consider. The pickings aren't great, but they aren't bare, either.
In four weeks the draft will be complete and the Eagles could, if they get to that point, use a high draft pick on a player to fill in and compete for a starting job at left tackle.
Trades, internal options ... they all exist. So we have to wait. And wonder. And if you are going to worry, just a little bit, feel free to do so.
Injuries aren't going to bring down the Eagles. They have always understood the importance of the offensive line and that isn't going to stop now. Line coach Howard Mudd is going to get his mitts into some player and make him a left tackle, no matter how unusual the move might -- or might not -- be.
I wish I had an answer for you right now, but I don't. Neither do the Eagles. They certainly didn't feel compelled to sign Bell immediately, but the door for him to be an Eagle is very much open. Bell could be an Eagle, a Steeler, a Cardinal or a Packer. If he comes to Philadelphia he learns the position from the very best coach a player could have.
The draft? Who knows what general manager Howie Roseman and head coach Andy Reid have planned. The point is, though, they have a plan. Even though the Eagles were thrown for a loop when they learned of Peters' injury, they have a plan. They have to change direction, yes, and they have to make adjustments, but they have to cover for the loss of Peters.
A great question to consider is the kind of player the Eagles want here. Are they looking for a stop-gap solution to fill in for the season while Peters rehabs his way back to full health? Or are they going to bring in a player who they see as a fit for many years down the road? Will Peters come all the way back athletically from his injury?
My sense is that Reid wants a player who can be a starter now and who can be a starter in the future. A rent-a-left-tackle plan seems a bit risky from this perspective, but then again I have total trust in Mudd and what he will do with the offensive line.
Is free agency over for the Eagles? I don't think so. There are still hundreds of players on the streets looking for work, and some quality players can be had for reasonable one-year contracts. You will see a lot of those kinds of deals between now and the draft. Players are panicking just a bit now. Free agency hasn't been the pot of gold for many good football players. They just want jobs now , because the draft kills just about any leverage the players have.
As far as left tackle, the word from the Eagles is to proceed with the right plan and make sure to get the right player. The Eagles aren't going to rush into. They hosted Bell over the weekend and they reportedly have interest in McNeil. We'll see how it goes.
The wait continues for everyone.